The mercury on our thermometer dipped down to 39 degrees this morning. 

After having had warm weather last week, it makes it feel even colder. The sun is shining and it looks like it might warm up. I am hoping it will as we have an extra big laundry. With all the rainy days last week, we couldn’t do any laundry the latter part of the week. 

The rains did help the gardens, though, and we do have corn, potatoes, green beans peeping through. We had our first taste of radishes and are also enjoying our winter onions. A reader asked about the winter onions. I didn’t start mine from seeds. I had a friend bring us starts and now every spring they come up in the same place.   

The rain has also kept the rhubarb growing really well. We put 16 pounds of rhubarb into juice last week which made 25 quarts. We all like it so much that I hope to have enough rhubarb to do quite a few more batches. 

I would also like to make rhubarb jam to supply us for another year. Every year, I am adding a little less sugar to my rhubarb juice. I think the pineapple, orange juice and gelatin in the recipe already have a lot of sugar so there‘s no need to add additional. 

We now have our gas refrigerator and freezer repaired and working again in the basement. It helps to have extra refrigerator space to put eggs and also more room to put food when preparing for company or church. After not having it in use for a couple of years we are glad to have it back.  

Daughter Lovina is making sure to remind us that her birthday is this week. She turned 7 Wednesday. We have been living here in Michigan for more than seven years now. Lovina decided to be born three weeks earlier than expected, and I had to have an emergency c-section.  I still had all of my baby clothes packed from the move. We had moved here around eight weeks earlier. Due to complications Lovina and I ended up being in the hospital a week.

I remember it was June before I planted any garden, but I still had a lot of good produce that year. Ladies from the community also shared with us. When Lovina was 7 weeks old I had surgery again to remove my gall bladder. My sisters pitched in and helped me a lot while I recovered. Every time Lovina’s birthday comes around I think about the way it was the year she was born. She has brought us a lot of sunshine. She is a kindergartener and is reading one book after another. In her free time, she likes to read and write which I think she must have inherited from me. I will have my 40th birthday on Sunday. Where have all of these years went to so fast? Lovina wants cupcakes for her birthday and also wants treat classmates with cupcakes, so we’ll be busy baking.   

Daughter Susan has completed her eighth-grade year which she is happy about. She now spends all her free time training our miniature pony, Tiger. He has calmed down a lot and Susan is now going down the road line driving him. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by cars and trucks passing him. I’m not sure how he will do once he passes big tractors.

This is a great recipe for using up your rhubarb. There are three parts to the recipe and the instructions are correct, the dessert needs to be baked three separate times!

HOMEMADE RHUBARB TORTE

Crust

2 cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup margarine

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl mix the ingredients well and then press into a 9 X 13 pan and bake for about 12 minutes at 350.  

FILLING:

5 cups rhubarb, chopped

2 cups sugar

6 tablespoons flour

6 egg yolks

1 6-ounce can evaporated milk

Combine chopped rhubarb, sugar, flour, egg yolks, and milk until creamy in consistency. Pour over crust and bake for 45 minutes at 350.

TOPPING

6 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Beat egg whites till stiff and add sugar, vanilla, and cream of tartar. Spread over top of baked rhubarb and bake for 10 minutes at 350 or until golden.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are seeking 100 new readers to join The Amish Cook Friend Club at any level between now and May 31. As of May 9, we have 33 new members. To move the Amish Cook forward, we need to strengthen our connection with loyal friends and followers and make new friends along the way. Our first step is to re-open the AMISH COOK FRIEND CLUB to new members. Membership includes: 

SUPPORTER: A personalized snail-mail thank you note and a discount code for future soft cover cookbook purchases. $25.

FRIEND: A personalized thank you note, discount code, and a photo of Lovina’s kitchen at mealtime. $50.

AMBASSADOR: All of the above plus the Limited Edition cookbook, "AMISH COOKBOOK USA" (a collection recipes from Amish settlements across the United States). $100.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Those who join at the $50 level or more will also receive a complimentary copy of "The Amish Appeal", a romance novel by th e Amish Cook’s editor to be released later this year. To join, send dues to Oasis Newsfeatures, PO BOX 157, Middletown, Ohio 45042.